Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Preparations for the Passover

A Reflection on Mark 14:12-16

It was on “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb…” I imagined the Lord and His disciples together in the temple observing the ritual slaughter, and then tried to imagine what thoughts, emotions, and prayers flowed through Jesus in that moment, as He saw the lamb’s blood flow out into the cup, then passed from one priest to the next, and was finally sprinkled onto the altar. Jesus, Lamb of God, did Your thoughts race ahead to the moment of Your own death; the one and only atoning death which this ancient ritual foretold? Would any of these same priests play a part in putting You to death? There You stood, all alone in Your knowing and understanding, just as soon You would be all alone upon Your own altar of sacrifice; and then, too, no one but You would know and understand. Did you then hear and understand Your disciples’ question, “Where do you want us to go to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” as “Where do you want us to go to prepare for your death?”

Also unknown to Your disciples, You Yourself had already prepared everything ahead of time—not just for them, but for us; for all of us, and for all time. “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a water jar. Follow him.” Who is this man with the water jar? We only meet him and follow him. Is it the Baptist? But he does not pour out the water; we do not wash. But just the sight of him and the water jar speaks of, reminds us of, our need for purification before we enter the Master’s house. It was then that I heard the words the priest speaks at the beginning of each Mass: “To prepare ourselves to celebrate these sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins.”

Yes, Lord, You have already prepared everything-- everything except the meal. You have already spoken to the Master of this house, made arrangements with him for us to be allowed to enter it with You, to eat the Passover with You. If it were not for Your relationship with the Master, we would not be able to enter.

The room is large and furnished. It is a guest room. It is Your guest room. Lord, this room then is my heart, where you are the Guest. In this room, where do I let you sit? What place do I give you? Is it one of the highest honor?

How often do I—do I really and truly—thank You for what you have done; that You have prepared a place at the table for me, with You, in your Father’s house? How I take it for granted, not giving thought to what it cost you, to obtain this place for me—with You!

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